# 1 Method to Improve Your St Augustine Turf: Raise the Mower
The simplest and best way to improve your St Augustine lawn is mow as high as the mower will go. A tall canopy of St Augustine is healthy, vigorous, easily recovers from trauma, requires less water and chokes out weeds. But most of all it looks great!
Why Mower Height Makes a Difference
St Augustine requires a tall thick canopy.The anatomy of the canopy has two distinct elements: Stems and leaves. The stems are thick and rigid forming a 2” mat along the surface of the soil like the backing of a rug. The leaves growing on the stems are not just for photosynthesis, the leaves shade and protect the stems from the sun. In a short canopy St Augustine lawn the leaves grow horizontally and vertically in a tall canopy. The horizontal growth habit of a short canopy is too little protection and has less photosynthesis (less surface area per ft2). But the tall canopy provides maximum protection and photosynthesis. The tall canopy is like a thick layer of insulation above the stems, shielding the stems from the harsh sun and allows the natural “air conditioning” of soil moisture to maintain moderate temperatures for the stems.
How to Raise the Canopy
It takes patience and the best way to achieve this higher canopy is to start with the next mowing. Raise your mower as high as it will go and mow at that height. It may seem a little odd at first – just running over the lawn not mowing - but just act as if you are mowing a thick St Augustine lawn. With time – maybe months depending on what season you raise the mower – your mower will start to nick the top of the leaves. From that point, it will be just a matter of a few weeks and you will see your lawn transform from a thin weedy lawn into a thick weed free beautiful lawn.
Try it, you’ll like it!
ILoveTurf.com - September 1st, 2011
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